Suspect in Murder of Phoenix Hiker Served Prison Time in 2021

Zion Teasley
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

Officials arrested and identified a suspect connected to the murder of a woman recently found dead on a Phoenix hiking trail.

The victim is identified as 29-year-old Lauren Heike, whose body was found Saturday on a trail near Mayo Boulevard and Scottsdale Road, Fox 10 reported Thursday.

Zion William Teasley stands accused of first-degree murder in the case. However, a motive has not yet been named.

“The 22-year-old served time in prison from July 2021 to November 2022 for a disorderly conduct conviction, and was accused of robbery, kidnapping and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon back in 2020, court records show,” the Fox article said.

The arrest took place at an apartment complex where Teasley lives and where officials served a search warrant.

In a social media post on Tuesday, the Phoenix Police Department shared surveillance video of what the agency called a “person of interest” regarding Heike’s death.

“This person is described as having a dark complexion and was near the area of the crime. Detectives believe this person may have information related to the case,” the agency noted:

NEW INFO ON HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION: Phoenix homicide investigators have been working tirelessly on the case involving the murder of 29-year-old Lauren Heike, who was found dead in a desert area near 6500 East Libby Street on Saturday April 29, 2023. While methodically going through evidence, investigators were able to locate a short surveillance video clip of a person of interest. This person is described as having a dark complexion and was near the area of the crime. Detectives believe this person may have information related to the case. Original media advisory in link below.

Posted by Phoenix Police Department on Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Authorities said Heike was “found to have trauma to her body.” The Daily Mail cited sources who told local media outlets she had been stabbed “multiple times,” and DNA reportedly found at the scene helped law enforcement find the suspect.

“Police confirmed that the man taken into custody was the same man running in the footage,” the Mail article said.

Meanwhile, neighbor Amber Winter witnessed the arrest and said she was walking her dog when she noticed SWAT vehicles and numerous undercover vehicles arrive.

“They literally blew the door down, went in, screaming ‘get on the ground! Get on the ground!’ They detained the supposed suspect, and brought him out. He sat there for a while, while they went inside and were searching and were interviewing people,” she recalled.

Video footage shows officials checking the man’s pockets before placing him inside a police vehicle:

“Our detectives have been working tirelessly around the clock. We received an outpour of support and tips called in. So I want to say thank you to the community,” a law enforcement official told reporters:

“We know that not only has this tragedy affected the family but it’s affected this neighborhood and the entire community,” she added.


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